Monday, March 14, 2011

The Derleth Factor

I've always been an August Derleth fan, but of late I've been reconsidering all that he has done for the genre, as editor and author.  My thinking of late has been edified by the works of John D. Haefele, who is a member of the amateur press association devoted to Lovecraft, The Esoteric Order of Dagon, for which S. T. Joshi is our Official Editor.  John has been doing a lot of work related to Derleth and the history of his relationship with H. P. Lovecraft and the Cthuhlu Mythos.  One extremely fine book (I've already read it three times) is August Derleth Redux: The Weird Tale 1930-1971, published in Denmark in 2009 by H. Harksen Productions.  It's a great wee book.  But I am really excited about John's forthcoming book, which will be a thorough study of the Derleth Mythos.  Derleth's handling of the Lovecraft papers and copyright, of his personal explication of symbolism in Lovecraft's Mythos, and in his heinous use of Lovecraft's name in the stories published as posthumous "collaborations" have fired up emotional debate.  Anger and knee-jerk reaction has played its role in shaping the current assessment of Derleth and his treatment of Lovecraft and his tales of the Mythos.  I have said my share of foolish things in the heat of clueless emotion. 

I have really been enjoying the series of vlog commentaries I've been recording at YouTube concerning the weird tales of H. P. Lovecraft.  I have had a hankering to do the same kind of commentary concerning the tales by Derleth that have been published in such books as The Survivor and Others, The Shuttered Room and Other Pieces and The Watchers Out of Time.  I am going to begin recording a series that discusses the posthumous collaborations, tale by tale, probably at the end of this week.  (Tomorrow will be reserved for H. P. Lovecraft alone, it being the Ides of March, on which Grandpa died in 1937.)  I think that I have been among many who have quickly condemned the posthumous collaborations as crap without giving them careful critical attention, and I mean to re-examine them in this series of vlogs at my MrWilum channel.


  1. I reread The Night Ocean last night and enjoyed it very much. It was a collaboration as well, though between Lovecraft and another author, and would certainly be worthy of commentary.

  2. Once Arcane Wisdom Press has published THE CRAWLING CHAOS AND OTHERS -- THE ANNOTATED COLLABORATIONS AND REVISIONS OF H. P. LOVECRAFT, I will be reviewing all of those stories via video vlog. In I AM PROVIDENCE, S. T. decides that :The Night Ocean" is mostly the work of Barlow, with perhaps 10% of ye text being Lovecraft;s helping hand.